Fox and Women, who will play The Horned Hand on Oct. 18, derive as much inspiration from the words of existential writer Simone de Beauvoir as they do from any musical muse. Deeply rooted in the lyrics and string-laden music of this folk-pop band is the poetry of de Beauvoir’s writing, such as these lines from the novel “The Mandarins.”
“The streets would smell again of oil and orange blossoms, in the evening there would be light, people would sit and chat in outdoor cafes, and he would drink coffee to the sound of real guitars.”
The early days of Fox & Women were spent at a poetry circle that met at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station in the Mission District of San Francisco where they shared words like these. At the circle, lead singer Jess Silva and Emily Haltom, who plays violin, were encouraged to form a band. But the real musical work began elsewhere.
“The process also started with me and Jess sitting in my room making music with my really fat cat Moosemuff, while smoking a doobie,” giggled Haltom, during a recent phone interview with the Source.
Now the two are joined by Andrew Paul Nelson on guitar and Will Boast on drums. This group is rounded out by a rotating cast of collaborators and multi-instrumentalists.
The result is some of the most charming pop-folk music around. Silva’s softer-than-Adele-like vocals are bewitching and, when coupled in harmony with Haltom’s, they form a strong foundation for the band’s string-laden music.
Cello, violin, and mandolin make regular appearances, as do lyrics in Silva’s native language of Portuguese. Still, the keystone of the music comes back to that book by de Beauvoir, which suggests a person’s personal experiences are the best starting point in understanding the meaning of life.
“I really fell in love with this book,” said Silva. “[The music] is not about the book. I was just inspired by it and I wanted to make people feel the way that book made me feel with music.”
The group is now working to record their debut album at John Vanderslice’s popular Tiny Telephone recording studio in SF.
“We’ve been recording our full album and we’ve spent a lot of time there,” said Silva. “
Look for Fox & Woman to get that album out as quickly as possible. After all, de Beauvoir’s ideas mean listeners need to experience the album in order to unlock its meanings.
Fox & Woman
8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18
The Horned Hand
507 NW Colorado Ave.